31 July 2005 | steve-575
Great show early ...but suffered a decline in quality in later seasons
When "Good Times" premiered in 1974, it was one the first black family sitcoms. It centered on the poor Chicago-based Evans family and their struggles to make ends meet. Most of the early episodes focused on the parents, James and Florida Evans, and their struggle to provide for the family. John Amos and Esther Rolle were the best part of the show. They were terrific actors and had great chemistry as James and Florida Evans. They had three kids: J.J., Thelma, and Michael. J.J. was the skirt-chasing but well-meaning teenage son who made up for his lack of subtlety with artistic talent. Thelma was an attractive, bright girl who was constantly trading insults with J.J. Michael was a near child prodigy who was well-educated on social issues and was destined to become a lawyer.
In 1976, the producers made a huge mistake by firing John Amos, literally killing off his character. This really changed the focus, and not for the good I might add. The shows began to focus more on J.J. and his buffoon-like behavior which angered black viewers as well as series star Esther Rolle, who left after the next season. Instead of a show that focused on key African-American issues that existed in society at the time, viewers got shows that were overloaded with skirt chasing and fat jokes.
Once Esther Rolle left, the quality of the show suffered even more. Although it was still watchable, it was no longer the great ground-breaking show that it once was.
Although Esther Rolle came back for the 1978 season, it became obvious that the show was on its last legs. All loose ends were tied up during that season and the show quietly faded off the air.
First three season: A. Last three seasons: C+.